Tinkerman Ranieri takes fall for faltering Roma

ROME, Feb 20, 2011 (AFP) - Claudio Ranieri fell on his sword on Sunday night as he took ultimate responsibility for his team's general collapse following a 4-3 defeat at Genoa.

The reverse was the club's fourth loss in a row and it was more the manner than the result that proved the final straw for the man affectionately known as 'the Tinkerman' during his time in England with Chelsea.

A closer look at the defeats reveals some mitigating circumstances.

Roma lost 5-3 at champions Inter Milan after playing a large part of the second half with 10 men.

They also lost to high-flying Napoli and were edged in a five-goal thriller by a Shakhtar Donetsk team that had topped a Champions League group containing Arsenal -- a team that has just beaten Barcelona.

All three defeats were perhaps excusable but the 4-3 reverse to Genoa, after having led 3-0, proved that Roma have this season developed a defensive vulnerability that they have not been able to shake.

A total of 54 goals conceded in 35 games attests to that.

Ironically, Ranieri made his playing debut as a 17-year-old for home town club Roma in a defeat to Genoa.

He made only six appearances for the team he supported as a boy before moving on to spend the majority of his career at Catanzaro, including the club's glory years in Serie A.

He went on to play for Palermo and Catania before hanging up his boots in 1986.

A year later he began his professional coaching career with Campania Puteolana before making his name at Cagliari, taking them through successive promotions from Serie C1 to Serie A.

That earned him a move to Napoli, where he led the club to fourth in the top flight and introduced Gianfranco Zola to the team as a replacement for the departed Diego Maradona.

His next port of call was Fiorentina, guiding them into Serie A and an Italian Cup victory.

But it was in Spain that he first started to make his name as in two seasons with Valencia he took the team into the Champions League and won the Spanish Cup.

He was widely viewed as having laid down the foundations that led to future success for his replacement, Rafael Benitez.

An unsuccessful spell at Atletico Madrid followed before he joined Chelsea and acquired his Tinkerman nickname.

In four years at Stamford Bridge he took Chelsea into the Champions League, to an FA Cup final and to second place in the league -- their best finish in 49 years.

But that was not enough for new billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, who replaced him with Jose Mourinho, and once again another coach benefited from Ranieri's groundwork.

A return to Valencia proved unsuccessful and he was sacked in February 2005 but two years later took over at Parma and saved them from relegation from Serie A.

He then joined newly-promoted Juventus and guided them to third place in their first season back in Serie A.

But he was sacked two games before the end of his second season with Juventus again sitting in the top three.

They won their last two games to finish second but slumped to seventh the following season and are struggling again this season.

He joined Roma after Luciano Spalletti resigned two games into last season, guiding them to a second-place finish and the cup final.

But his failure to halt their current slump proved too much for Ranieri to bear and he decided to turn his back on the club he loves in the hope -- in his words -- of spurring them on.

Other news